A parade of vehicles heads down the street adjacent to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital on Thursday, April 2. Gidgetto Designs Photography.

A parade of vehicles heads down the street adjacent to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital on Thursday, April 2. Gidgetto Designs Photography.

Vehicle parades celebrate birthdays, recognize workers on COVID-19 front lines

Melissa Young started the parades in Cranbrook as a way to mark her son’s 12th birthday

While birthday parties have been put on hold due to social distancing directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean people can’t get creative to mark important celebrations.

Melissa Young, who was searching for a way to celebrate her son’s 12th birthday, said she was inspired to organize a parade past her house as a way to mark the occasion.

She came across a post on social media where teachers were driving past their students’ houses and waving at their pupils and decided to borrow the idea.

“I thought that was such a cool idea that maybe it was something I could do for his birthday,” said Young, “so it occurred to me that he’s probably not the only one feeling this way and that there’s lots of kids probably stuck at home…”

She threw the idea out on a local Facebook page and the response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive.

video courtesy Gidgetto Designs Photography

It has grown to the point where five others have stepped in to help with organizing, while the driver pool has grown to approximately 100 people.

“The community response has been amazing,” she said.

Parades are organized through the Cranbrook Birthday Parades Facebook page, and spread out a few days at a time so people don’t get overwhelmed, said Young.

Young will make a post at the top of the page with dates, and people can request the parade swing by their house. Someone then collects and categorizes the addresses so that a parade route can be formalized.

Staging areas include the Western Financial Place parking lot or the Tamarack Centre parking lot and vehicles decked out streamers or props — such as tying a mock birthday present on the roof — get ready to hit the streets.

Requests for a parade by a house usually has a noon deadline, and the parades start at 7 p.m. to mark the time when people are encouraged to step outside to clap and cheer for hospital and health care workers.

Young adds that the B.C. Ambulance Service or the Cranbrook Fire Department will often join the parades if they can, while a traffic control driver leads the way.

Thought the parades were started as a way to mark birthdays, the group is also driving by places such as the East Kootenay Regional Hospital, the Cranbrook Fire Department, the Cranbrook RCMP detachment as well as care homes like Joseph Creek Village.

“It’s important to acknowledge those people who are putting themselves at risk, for sure, and keeping everybody safe,” Young said.

Though it began as a way to mark birthdays, the parades have blossomed into a gesture that holds meaning not just for those who witness it, whether it be families self-isolating at home or health care staff at the hospital, but for those who are driving in it.

“I think the value of it, for the people who are driving, is so huge because we’re all locked in our houses and we can’t socialize and we can’t go out,” said Young. “It just gives you a way to be able to get out of the house for half and hour, wave at your neighbour or your friend from your vehicle, because everyone’s been really good at maintaining social distancing, but just to have that connection and to get your mind off the negative and all that stuff that we’re being bombarded with all day, every day.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City council is requesting a meeting with a provincial cabinet minister to ask the province to step in and manage urban deer in Cranbrook. Barry Coulter file photo.
City of Cranbrook asks province to manage urban deer

The City of Cranbrook is requesting a meeting with a provincial cabinet… Continue reading

All-season soccer is now a fact of the East Kootenay, with the opening of the indoor soccer facility at Balment Park. (Photo courtesy Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association)
Dawn of the Dome: New era of soccer underway in EK

Year-round soccer programming begins at new indoor sports facility in Cranbrook

The Cranbrook Climate Hub will be hosting a webinar this coming Friday (January 29) that focuses on sustainable jobs. (Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay)
Cranbrook Climate Hub to host webinar on sustainable jobs

Bruce Wilson, former General Manager for Shell, will speak on ‘looking beyond Keysone XL’

The unforgettable Bud Abbott. An award is presented in his name at the East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival. Photo submitted
East Kootenay Performing Arts Festival is a go

Performances will be recorded and adjudicated from a distance

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

Energy consultant Michèle Deluca and city building inspector Sam Ellison are researching how to account for embodied carbon when calculating a new building’s carbon footprint. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson researches climate impact of embodied carbon in new buildings

Embodied carbon is the footprint of the manufacture and transport of building materials

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

Most Read